As Montana Rail Link prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary, spokesman Jim Lewis looked back on the company's beginnings.

"On October 31st, 1987 we started up operations, but our company has changed a lot over the last 30 years," Lewis said. "We started with 500 employees from 30 different railroads. Today, we have over 1,100 employees, and last year we moved over 400,000 carloads of freight across out network, which is a huge amount of growth as opposed to what we did when we started over 30 years ago."

Lewis made a point to focus on MRL's safety record.

"We're quite proud of our safety record," he said. "Our accident rate has dropped by over 87 percent over the last 20 years, and it's always something we're striving for and something we concentrate on daily."

Lewis said western Montanans might see something unusual on the tracks in the next few weeks, passenger trains.

"Your listeners might see some passenger trains out across our network this upcoming weekend," he said. "We'll be running eight employee and past employee passenger trains across our entire network. It's going to be a great opportunity for us to get together with almost 2,800 people who are either working for, or once worked for Montana Rail Link to celebrate this milestone."

Lewis said the passenger train trips are for employees and former employees only to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary.

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